North Montville Baptist Church’s annual Pot Luck Ice Cream Social celebration will take place Sunday, Aug. 19 from 1 to 6 p.m. at the church, 1001 Halldale Road in North Montville.

In addition to live bluegrass and country gospel music by Friends of the King, Don and Christa Pauley of China and a contemporary Christian group from Northport — and delicious food — America’s first circuit-riding preacher, who defied death at the hands of Indians, highwaymen and wolves, will “come alive” in the person of Mark Alan Leslie, who wrote “Midnight Rider” based on Francis Asbury’s life for The Morning Star.

Leslie will speak as Asbury, the most extraordinary preacher of his time, the period of the American Revolution through the country’s infancy, at 2:30 p.m. The British-born Asbury sailed from England to America in 1771 just before the Revolution, when most all preachers confined themselves to the safety of cities. He immediately began riding the colonies from the Carolinas to Maine, spreading the gospel as far as Downeast and eventually organized hundreds of “circuits” for Methodist preachers to ride.

Riding 5,000 to 6,000 miles a year, dozens of times crossing the Allegheny Mountains and facing danger, Asbury was better known across the young country than George Washington, Thomas Jefferson or Benjamin Franklin. His memory is enshrined by statues in Washington, D.C., Drew University in Madison, N.J., and at Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky. His name is memorialized by Asbury College in Wilmore, Ky.; Asbury Theological Seminaries in Orlando, Fla., and Wilmore; and what is now called DePauw University in Greencastle, Ind.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at 207-594-4401 or